Head of Kinahan gang in Ireland held as €300,000 found in attic

Loaded guns found in Dublin warehouse on Tuesday posed ‘an imminent threat to life’

Det Supt Tony Howard of the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau, addresses the media at Dublin Castle. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Det Supt Tony Howard of the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau, addresses the media at Dublin Castle. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

 

Gardaí believe they have landed the most significant blow against the Kinahan crime gang for many years with the arrest of what appears to be its most significant figure in Ireland.

The man, who is in his 50s, is one of four people being questioned about the seizure of an arsenal of weapons and over €200,000 at an industrial estate in Co Dublin on Tuesday.

Further investigations yielded the seizure of a further €300,000 in the attic of a man who runs the Kinahan gang in Ireland and who travels all over the world to meet Christy Kinahan.

The seized cash, believed to be part of the proceeds of the Kinahan gang’s drug dealing in Ireland, was vacuum packed and hidden in the man’s house.

He is originally from west Dublin but is now living in Co Kildare.

Apart from minor road traffic matters, he has never come to the attention of the Garda and has no criminal record.

However, gardaí believe he was central to taking receipt of multi-million euro consignments of drugs the Kinahan gang has been importing into the Republic.

Gardaí also believe he has been Christy Kinahan’s “eyes and ears on the ground” in distributing the drugs and accounting for the money taken from the domestic gangs being supplied by Kinahan’s outfit, which has been led from southern Spain.

Gardaí think the tightly-packed form the cash was in suggests it was being packed in vehicles and smuggled out of the State in the same way Kinahan’s drugs are smuggled in.

Raid

This arrest and seizure of cash at his house on Tuesday followed the raid and seizure of guns at a warehouse in the Greenogue Industrial Estate in Rathcoole, west Dublin.

The guns seized include nine revolvers, four semi-automatic pistols, a submachine gun and an assault rifle.

Some were vacuum packed, like the cash seized in the attic, while others were loaded and ready for use.

Gardaí believe the weapons were being readied an imminent attack by the Kinahan gang as part of the Kinahan-Hutch feud.

Gardaí believe the warehouse was a key logistics hub in Ireland for the Kinahan gang and the man arrested on Tuesday was managing that facility.

Gardaí believe his detention strikes the most significant blow against the gang’s operation in the Republic for a decade.

A number of bank accounts linked to the Kinahan gang were unearthed during searches on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Three men other men were also arrested yesterday aged in their 40s and 50s. One was arrested at the warehouse in Rathcoole while the other two were arrested nearby.

They are being held in different Dublin Garda stations under Section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act.

Detective Superintendent Tony Howard said the firearms seized posed “an imminent threat to life” and the actions of the gardaí had saved lives.

“All criminals should realise that they’re under pressure from the gardaí,” Mr Howard told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

“We’re watching individuals and we will pursue them,” he said. “I can reassure the public that no effort will be spared and resources have been placed at our disposal by the Government to pursue anyone engaged in organised crime.”

Semi-automatic weapons

Mr Howard said Tuesday’s arms seizure included a number revolvers, a number of semi-automatic weapons, submachine gun, and an assault rifle and more than 1,200 rounds of ammunition.

When asked if the raid was linked to the Kinhan gang, Mr Howard said the investigation would look at “all avenues of enquiry” adding that there was “no doubt these weapons are connected with serious organised crime”.

Mr Howard provided a strong indication on Tuesday that the seizure of firearms may have some link to the discovery of €35 million worth of cannabis at Dublin Port on Friday.

“It says volumes that organised crime groups have both the capacity and obviously the money to import those quantities of drugs.

“Similarly in relation to the firearms, the reality of it is very few individuals or groups would have the ability to amass these types of firearms,” he said.

“All of these seizures put together really has resulted in a considerable impact on how these organised crime gangs can operate here in the State.”

He appealed to members of the public who may have witnessed any potentially suspicious activity in the Greenogue Industrial Estate over recent days to come forward, particularly any workmen or delivery drivers who may have been in the area.